Source: CHU Paris St-Antoine URL Lab
The snorer is an unfortunate person in danger who must be rescued. This is obvious to most doctors today. But the snorers themselves are completely unaware of it, which does not facilitate the cure. How indeed to want to get rid of an evil which one is unaware of…? Because the snorer, usually, does not even know that he snores. We told him, but personally, he was never able to see it. When his bedmate makes him listen to the cassette on which he recorded this noise pollution, he discovers the hitherto unknown noise that he has been producing every night, without his knowledge for years. Until this moment of truth, very few snorers are aware of it, and have really understood the importance of the social handicap they suffer from. Virtually all are convinced that their spouse, whose grievances finally led them to consult, exaggerates in his descriptions and his complaints. From this ignorance is born the mutual incomprehension which very quickly opposes the two elements of a couple, when one of the two starts to snore. From there, all mistakes are possible.
Because it is most often the wife who is embarrassed. Firstly because almost three quarters of married men snore, against only half of women. We have seen the probable reasons for this difference. But moreover, it is more surprising to note that among the husbands of snorers, only 20% complain of the noise of their spouse, while more than 60% of women cannot stand the snoring of their husband.
This discrepancy is more difficult to understand. Our dear companions claim that it is because they have more fragile sleep, and above all because, if they happen to snore a little, it is always with great discretion. The first argument is debatable, because with age, both sexes equally complain of insomnia. But the second seems more plausible, because in general, all the anatomical structures of the woman are of smaller size than those of the man, and a small veil, a small mouth will still produce less noise than some of these gigantic male throats capable of inspiring Rabelais.
Others, among whom most husbands are tempted to join, believe that men are generally more tolerant, more desirous of their peace; whence their tendency to pass over in silence, when they hear it, this finally not very embarrassing noise which their dear wife emits when she sleeps.
It is very difficult, anyway, to form an accurate opinion on an element as subjective as the discomfort caused by the snoring of the other. A systematic investigation has never been made on this subject, and moreover, it would be very difficult to carry out. And then, what credit to give to a statistic on snoring, which would not take single people into account? However, on these, we see that we know nothing, and for good reason: almost no one complains about their din, except when it reaches such proportions that it disturbs the neighbors. By definition, a single person lives alone, and no one around him is therefore bothered to the point of forcing him to consult. For some, moreover, snoring is perhaps one of the causes of their prolonged celibacy…!
It is therefore the woman who most often comes to complain: for years, she has endured her husband’s nocturnal din, which only gets worse with age. She tried everything. EARPLUGS: “But I can’t stand them, and anyway, that doesn’t prevent my husband from waking me up…!”.
As soon as she hears him snore, she pinches him, hits him, or pushes him to make him stop. But then he wakes up, half conscious, he protests with more or less vehemence against this aggression. How would he understand the reason since he has no idea of the noise that led his wife to molest him in his sleep?
Other times, she tries unsuccessfully to put him on his stomach, because she knows that way the snoring should go away. We told her, but she was rarely able, poor thing, to notice it on her husband; because most often she can’t do it: “It’s that he’s heavy! and he makes no effort to sleep like that!”.
It is true that moving eighty or ninety kilos spread out in sleep – often much more – is work worthy of Sisyphus. Some brides have tried fancier tricks, of which the tennis ball is the simplest. But in vain. Most of them, as one accepts near one’s house the vicinity of a railway line or a noisy factory, support this conjugal nuisance with resignation. Snoring, it should be remembered, is intermittent, at the rhythm of the phases of sleep, and in their regularly interrupted nights, these women count more or less the crises of sonic asphyxiation of their husbands, as one counts the trains whose passage tears the outer darkness. Then, at dawn, like Emma Bovary, they end up falling asleep, as exhausted as their husband.
Some others, more privileged, have long been living in separate rooms. But not everyone has an extra room to hide in to escape the noise. This is reserved for the wealthy classes, which has led to it being said that among the rich, snoring is much more rarely a grievance between spouses than among the poor. The rich, in fact, when they snore, separate to sleep, and thus no longer bother each other.
But this solution is only a last resort: we regret all the affection represented by a night slept together, simply because, as soon as he falls asleep, the husband, however loved and appreciated, snores like a ringer. And we would of course prefer to rediscover intimate peace, to discover the means of getting rid of this infirmity which thus affects common life.
The snorer’s point of view
The snorer, especially, is to be pitied. Without acknowledging it, he hasn’t been very happy for some time: little by little, over the past few years or months, his wife has changed. More aggressive, less friendly, less cuddly, she is angry with him, but he doesn’t know why. Of course, she tells him about her snoring; from time to time, she blames him for it, and sometimes she even explodes in anger when, by chance, the subject is broached among friends. But the poor husband cannot believe that this is the reason for the change in attitude that he has gradually registered. For him, if he snores, he has always snored. He can’t imagine that he ever started snoring like that, for no reason, and he tends to think that it’s his wife who, for some time, has been complaining to him about a little flaw he has, always had, but that she can no longer bear. Beyond thinking that she no longer loves him… that another can be, who does not snore …! He has no idea of the noise he makes, nor of the embarrassment he causes his wife, and he has no doubt that she exaggerates this disturbance.
So, more often than not, he resigns himself. To avoid a conflict that he does not want – because he loves his wife – he uses the untruths of popular wisdom: everything in life is damaged, even affection, and that is probably why she no longer forgives him for having this little defect which she accepted very well, he is convinced of it, at the beginning of their love. But of course, this reasoning offers him little consolation…
Others, on the contrary, rebel, worry, refuse the disillusioned fatalism of this observation. With obstinacy, they seek “the real reason” for this change in their wife; not being aware of the importance of their snoring nor of the recent nature of its occurrence, it seems unlikely to them that he alone could be responsible for such a change in their relationship. There is a great risk then of going the wrong way, of aggravating tensions, of exacerbating other grievances, and of coming, who knows, to divorce.
In this research, the men clearly notice that, chronologically, the denunciation of their snoring coincides with a reduction in the intensity or frequency of their sexual relations, or even with their disappearance. From there to believe that their wife has a lover, there is only one step. Doubt crosses them. Their jealousy is one day wrongly fixed on nothing, and here they in turn have become aggressive, suspicious, vindictive, reproaching their wife for a misdeed of which the unfortunate woman is often innocent, whereas on the contrary, the spectacle of this husband vulgarly slumped in an unseemly din could, of course, encourage them to be guilty of it!
Others, tired of this constant reproach, and not to be outdone, seek to balance things out with a fault in their wife. It is always easy to point out a minor fault of this one, and thus to minimize by comparison the importance of this snoring of which they are accused. But the wife does not understand that one suddenly becomes so little tolerant, and she does not take long to ask more serious questions, even to find interpretations as erroneous as those that her husband could have made.
A veritable vicious circle of misunderstanding sets in. Sometimes it gets louder, and the snoring is, of course, just a minor grievance when it comes to divorce. But he was the catalyst for disagreements that could otherwise have been easily resolved. Would Emma have loved Rodolphe if Doctor Bovary could have been cured of his snoring? Fortunately, between husband and wife, snoring does not necessarily lead to arsenic; but a certain enmity remains latent and invincible, and it is disillusioned and full of resentment that these couples, in their nocturnal din, are moving little gradually towards an embittered third age.Continue your reading
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